(L to R): A crowd looks on as ADPi member Ana Klinger paddles forward and Chi Omega member Ryann Taylor begins to go overboard. Photo by Lynne Smith for The Alabamian.
UM’s Panhellenic and Interfraternity organizations set a course for victory during Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI)’s inaugural cardboard boat race on Thursday, Sept. 24.
There were four races, each consisting of two organizations facing against one another. The goal of each race was to steer a boat to the end of the SAC pool, switch captains and then paddle back to the starting point in the fastest time possible.
The winners of the competition were decided based solely on best overall time, not on who finished the race first.
The first face off occurred between the Alpha Kappa Lambda (AKL) patriots and the Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) vikings.
At the sound of the whistle, the two splashed forward. AKL’s vessel rocked vigorously, but captain Nick Rivers maintained enough balance for an early lead.
Captain Wyatt Hall, however, had trouble paddling ATO’s large vessel. It wasn’t long before the boat began taking on water and Hall was forced overboard.
Hall’s brothers left no man behind and dived in the water to help their captain and boat. In the end, AKL’s second captain, Judson Moles, steered his team to victory.
The next race consisted of captain Ryann Taylor of Chi Omega (Chi O) against captain Ana Klinger of Alpha Delta Pi (ADPi). Chi O sailed a tiny boat modeled after the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” while ADPi commanded a Hawaiian ship with tropical flowers.
As the two set off, Chi O’s boat immediately began sinking and eventually capsized with Taylor. ADPi’s boat stayed balanced and allowed second captain Lily Elmore to claim a slow and steady victory. However, with a little help from her sisters, Taylor managed to finish the course with her boat stubbornly submerged.
Lambda Chi Alpha captain Neil Van Marter manned a “Castaway” themed cardboard pipe raft against Delta Gamma (DG) captain Sydney Darabaris in a bathtub tugboat. Though Marter lost his first mate “Wilson” in the early part of the race, the raft’s slim design swiftly carried him and second captain Chad Langley to a close victory. DG second captain Claire Caddell received plenty of cheers as she waded to a finish in her rubber ducky outfit.
The final race pitted Phi Mu’s Barbie Dreamboat against Alpha Gamma Delta’s “Scooby Doo” mystery machine. Though Alpha Gamm captains Chandler “Velma” Foushee and Morgan “Freddie” Peppers ran with their theme, Phi Mu put the paddle to the pool faster. Captains Cowan Angel and Mackenzie Haugh were pretty in pink as they paddled to a win.
FIJI philanthropy chair Kevin Britt then began announcing the winners of the race. The Titanic Award for most dramatic sinking went to ATO, whose boat lay in a cardboard shamble as they cheered.
The Captain’s Award for the best theme went to Alpha Gamm for its Scooby Doo themed boat and costumes.
Finally, the winners for the best time for both sorority and fraternity were Phi Mu with a finishing time of one minute, 27 seconds and AKL with one minute, 10 seconds. In total, the event raised just under $1,100 for FIJI’s philanthropy, United Services Organizations, with 10 percent going toward Shelby County Safehouse and another 10 percent going toward Children’s Miracle Network.
“I was a little nervous about how the event would go because no one has ever tried an event like this before,” said Britt. “I had a sinking feeling about it, but everything floated on nicely.”